Shawnee Mission Students Celebrate Kansas Day

Brookridge KS Day
Shawnee Mission School District

January 29 marked the 158th birthday of the state of Kansas.

To celebrate, students across the district created artwork, shared musical performances, and took time to learn about our nation’s 34th state. At Brookridge Elementary, fourth-graders spent a day learning about the creation of the Sunflower State.

Kansas Settlers Band, a group of teaching artists with the Kansas City Young Audiences, kicked off the celebration at Brookridge and shared history, music, and games with students.

The troupe’s program focuses on Kansas in the 1800s and how individuals came to settle in this area. The students participated in dancing, singing, and multiple-choice games about Kansas.

“I liked learning about the different Indian tribes and how they started in Kansas, like the Kansa tribe,” said Evan, fourth-grader.

During the day, the students rotated through three classrooms where different Kansas-related lessons were shared.

The first classroom allowed students to learn more about history and quilting. The presenters shared different quilt blocks specific to Kansas including the Kansas Star and Kansas Sunflower. Students were able to design a quilt block and see and touch the quilts samples, including some that were 150 years old.

The next classroom activity featured tin punching. The students learned that tin became extremely popular because it was inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to clean. The Kansas settlers used tin for mugs, dishes and pots and pans. Tin punching was a way to decorate tinsmithed items. Students were given a square of tin and selected a pattern to punch their own design.

The final activity was sharing artifacts from a Civil War trunk. The presenter, dressed in the clothes of the period, shared the history of many war-related items.

“Having the artifacts and costumes provide a great resource for our visual learners,” Shannon Johnston, fourth-grade teacher, said.

Earlier this year, the fourth-graders visited Ernie Miller Nature Center and will visit the state capital in April as they continue to learn Kansas history.